Studies and Diplomas
The practice and study of homeopathy is unregulated in most European countries so there is no official definition of what is required to produce a competent homeopath. However two European organisations, one which represents the professional homeopaths and one which represents the medical homeopaths have each produced recommendations for the curriculum and syllabus of homeopathic training required to produce competent, safe homeopathic practitioners.
The European Council for Classical Homeopathy (ECCH) which represents the majority of professional and heilpraktiker homeopaths in Europe published their ‘Guidelines for Homeopathic Education’ in 1993. The European Committee For Homeopathy (ECH), which represents the majority of doctors who practice unicist homeopathy throughout Europe, published the ‘European Programme of Basic Teaching Standards in Homeopathy’ in 1992.
These documents have both been influential in establishing common standards of education and training across Europe and have become recognized as the established requirements within the profession. However there is as yet no single diploma or qualification which has Europe-wide recognition. Neither have agreements been set up for free movement and mutual recognition for homeopaths training in one country and moving to practice in another.
Both ECCH and ECH have as Members national registering bodies of professional homeopaths and medical homeopaths from each country rather than individuals as members. Both Councils are made up of representatives from the member associations.
The Legal Status of Homeopathy and Homeopathic Practitioners
Homeopathy is tolerated in all European countries. Its practice by medical doctors is tolerated in all countries. Practice by professional homeopaths is tolerated in a majority of European countries. Only in a small minority of countries, which by law restrict the practice of all medicine to medical doctors, are professional homeopaths legally unable to practice.
Neither the European Commission or the European Parliament have produced any position statement on who may or may not practice homeopathy. The delivery of health care services is considered to be a concern of each member state rather than one of the European Union.
Of all so-called ‘complementary’ or ‘non-conventional’ therapies homeopathy is probably the one in which there is the largest established research base of past and present activity. In 1997 the Homeopathic Medicine Research Group, which was established by Directorate Commission X11 E of the European Union Commission two years earlier, published a comprehensive report of its findings into the status of homeopathic research together with a Dictionary of Homeopathy and data-base of homeopathic trials.
The report concluded that there was sufficient evidence to continue to develop more effective research into homeopathy and its effectiveness but that as most of the trials surveyed were of low methodological quality much work was needed to improve trial quality before any truly definitive statements could be made. This statement supports the findings of two separate meta-analyses of homeopathic clinical research trials in 1992 and 1997 which both concluded that there is sufficient evidence to suggest that the effects of homeopathic treatment cannot be explained by calling them mere placebo effect but that more research of greater quality needs to be carried out before final proof can be established.
For an excellent balanced 30 minute documentary on homeopathy made in the 1990’s please go here to watch it:
ECCH has produced a report that summaries a number of clinical trials that have shown positive evidence for homeopathy’s effectiveness.